I’ve been grappling for a while with what it’s like to be a woman in the public eye because it’s not as simple as being a video journalist or being a GameSpot employee. It’s not as easy as it is for guys. I can’t just focus on content creation and being good at my job because I have to consider a whole bunch of other things. Up until twenty minutes ago I thought these things were important, I thought they were proper considerations that I needed to be aware of ALL the time if I want to do this job. Now I think that’s bullshit and I’m going to tell you why.
This morning SourceFed host Meg Turney posted up a picture of herself in a push-up bra (I KNOW you want to see this so here you go) and I reacted with disdain. I had such admiration for her as a bisexual, cool, gamer who hosted a fantastic show. She’s laid-back and intelligent and a lot of the things I aspire to be in a video journalist. She’s also drop dead gorgeous. When I saw that picture I jumped to the same conclusion that a lot of people who aren’t men probably did – she’s selling out, she’s using her boobs to get attention and to garner Twitter followers etc. I went on a Twitter tirade saying she was removing all integrity from her career and proving that she’s just another girl who will exploit herself to get male attention – what I said was fucking stupid. Basically.
She reacted against these types of responses in two different videos and I received a well deserved smack in the face. The things I have come to understand from this industry are mostly things I have gathered as a result of males trying to objectify me or males trying to protect me. Perhaps neither is useful to me deciding who I want to be and how I want to represent that person publicly. I’ve been told not to tweet about my body in a way that might be misconstrued as sexual, I’ve been objectified for wearing a low-cut top and many, many more from both sides of the scale but you know what, I’m saying, “No”. I’m calling bullshit.
Just because I’m a woman talking about video games to a large sect of grown-up, sensible people and a small sect of vocal sexist pigs does not change how I’m going to act. I’m going to be me. I now believe that as long as I’m not showing up to a bikini to work or tweeting propositions to my followers there’s no reason I shouldn’t be exactly who I am. I’ll dress in high-cut t-shirts some days and others I’ll wear the tank tops I’m usually more comfortable in.
I’m not buying into this “women need to act differently to men in gaming JUST because they’re women” anymore. It’s total bullshit and it’s not fair. And, honestly, it’s sexist. Whether it’s people giving me advice for my own good or just a bunch of assholes objectifying there’s no good reason to change myself.
Now I’m not saying I’m going to follow in Meg’s footsteps but I don’t think women who do should be crucified or be accused of selling out their integrity. Everyone has their own attitudes and personality. If she wants to show off her boobs which she’s clearly fond of then who the hell am I to tell her otherwise? Just because she’s a woman, she should be more demure lest she be objectified? How is saying that any better than telling women to take off more clothes in a video? I honestly believe it’s not.
Women should be okay with talking about their bodies and showing them off if they so choose. Yes, there will ALWAYS be gawkers and weirdos but she isn’t dressing that way for them. I never dress that way for them. I want to be able to tweet about my body in a non-promiscuous way without going “Oh but what will the men who follow me think? What if they think it’s racy?”, I want to dress in a way that makes me happy without a thought to what it might make some assholes on the internet think.
If men don’t have to censor themselves I think it’s complete shit that women are asked to, or expected to. As I’ve said, if it’s in line with the company with which they are associated (should they be, and I say this regarding my role at GameSpot too) then there shouldn’t be separate rules for how men and women conduct themselves.
So, screw it, basically. I’m done reviewing myself as a woman in this industry and I’m going to start just seeing myself as a person in this industry. Besides, that’s always how I’ve seen myself outside of it so why should it be any different? I’m not a girl gamer, I’m a gamer. I’m not a female journalist, I’m a journalist. My views are my own and that is plastered on every social media outlet I find myself on so why am I putting myself and my personality in a box that’s seen to be more ‘sensible and polite’ just because I’m a woman?
I’m really interested in what you guys think. Do you think women in the public eye need to be careful? Should we have different rules? Why or why not? Let me know.